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Spreading awareness for epilepsy

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Mary Loughlin will tell you purple is not her favorite color, but during November, National Epilepsy Awareness Month, she wears purple every day.

"Because if you're going to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk," she said.

Loughlin is the Northeast Resource Coordinator for the Epilepsy Foundation Eastern Pennsylvania.

"So I wear purple every day in honor of those that do have epilepsy, and I'm trying to spread awareness which we do with our bows."

Members have placed about 400 bows or ribbons throughout our area.

"We want to break down the stigma of epilepsy," explained Rena Loughlin, the program director for Epilepsy Foundation Eastern Pennsylvania. "There's still that stigma that, you know, epilepsy, it's bad. Some people still think you're possessed by the devil or that you did something in a past life, but epilepsy is just a neurological disorder. A lot of people have it."

"One in 26 will be diagnosed with epilepsy at some point in their lifetime. It's the fourth most leading neurological disorder after stroke, Alzheimer's and migraines, and epilepsy. And it's nothing to be afraid of. It's just like having a peanut allergy or anything else," explained Mary.

The ribbons come with a set of instructions for what to do in case you encounter someone having a seizure. The first step if you don't know this person is to call 911.

"We're going to stay with the person as they're having a seizure. You're going to time the seizure because that's really important. So when a seizure goes over five minutes, that really becomes an emergency," added Rena.

Then you want to make sure there are no dangerous objects around that person, turn them on their side, and do not put anything in their mouth.

"And you're going to let them have the seizure. Do not restrain them. If you restrain them, you could hurt their muscles and cause damage. So you're just going to let the seizure occur, you know, their brain is telling their body to move," Rena explained.

If you would like to learn more about epilepsy or get ribbons for your neighborhood, you can find contact information for the local branch of the foundation by clicking here.